My Body, My Self 

Number 5 is about modeling self-compassion not self-judgment. Everyone has a voice inside their head that monitors their behavior. This voice is your conscience or if it gets nasty, we call it your inner critic.  Are familiar with your inner critic? It likes to gives you a hard time for your behavior and loves the word should“You should have been more kind,” “You shouldn’t have eaten all those cookies.”

Your inner critic spends a good deal of time blaming you for things and passing judgment on you.  It tells you that,“You are not good enough as you are,” “You did something wrong,” and “You should be really embarrassed.”

In Step number 5 we talked about quieting a critical voice inside, now we’re going to help your child engage and listen to another voice inside, a very helpful voice -- intuition. The Voice by Shel Silverstein does a great job describing intuition:

Your intuition is connected to you at the deepest level. It is your judgment for what is right and wrong for you in a given situation. We want our children to stay in touch with their intuition because it acts in their best interest at all times. 

Renee Engeln author of Beauty Sick speaks to the heart of my brief last strategy for developing a positive body image when she says:

Women with a positive body image care about how they look. They still want to feel attractive . . .They just don’t hinge most or all of their sense of self worth on whether OTHERS find them attractive.

Not relying on others for their self worth is a big ask in adolescence where our kids just want to fit in with their peers. And, it is a big ask for women, as Paul Campos says in The Diet Myth, “We live in a culture that tells the average American woman dozens of times per day that the shape of her body is the most important thing about her.”

With so much emphasis on women’s bodies in our culture, and with all the media images imposing a narrow standard for beauty, it might seem impossible to have and maintain a positive body image.  The following four blogs in MyBodyImage discuss how to cultivate a positive body image using My Body Journal  as a tool to help locate your thoughts around your body. These blogs build upon each other and discuss how to develop a positive body image with discussion and tools centered around the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA’s) definition of a “positive body image:”

Let's try to think about our own body shape and size. This will take some focus because we often are not aware of most of our own deeply held thoughts about our bodies. Your task in addressing a negative body image is to become familiar with unhelpful thoughts about your body that you are  thinking deep down, so you can confront them. When they are left unattended, brewing below the surface of your mind, your thoughts can develop unmanaged as the years roll on.